Damage assessment is a prerequisite for all disaster management practices. Assessing the level of damage is required at two basic levels of intervention.

Firstly, for emergency relief measures, for which purpose a quick assessment of damage would become the basis for the amount of medical relief and food stocks to reach the disaster area quickly. At the second level, would be a detailed technical analysis of the damage for long-term restoration and rehabilitation works. Form a long-term perspective, realistic damage assessment examines the mechanisms of failure that take place during the disaster. These studies are very useful for all future prevention and mitigation efforts regarding disasters.

The basic objectives of damage assessment are:

I. To make rapid assessment of areas affected and the extent of impact, for the purpose of immediate rescue and relief operations,


II. To prepare estimates for the amount and type of relief to be provided and mode of relief, in terms of food, clothing, medicines, shelter and other essential items,

III. To make detailed assessment for long-term relief and rehabilitation planning and

IV. To identify focus areas for purpose of replication in similar situations.

In short, damage assessment is an important tool to assimilate and document the extent of impact of a disaster, and forms the basis for disaster management actions.


Assessments must be carefully planned and executed. The assessment process includes:

I. Identification of information needs and sources of reliable data;

II. Collection of data;

III. Analysis and interpretation of data;


IV. Report writing;

V. Conclusion; and

VI. Recommendation for planners and decision makers.

The official agency for reporting estimates of disaster damages is the Revenue Department of the sate Government, as they are also the authority for granting and distributing relief to the affected persons.


As usual, there is a hierarchy of officials who report from the lowest level of villages/panchayats through blocks/ revenue circle, tehsils/talukas, sub-divisions and finally to the districts. The basis items usually covered in the assessment report, as per the rapid assessment norms are:

  • Name of sub-division
  • Area in square kilometers
  • Total number of villages
  • Number of villages affected
  • Total population
  • Population affected
  • Total number of panchayats
  • Number of panchayats fully affected
  • Number of panchayats partially affected
  • In case of floods, areas still under water